The surgery went well, on Friday. It was an interesting experience, to say the least. Since I knew the way to and from the Hospital it was one of the few days where my sister Violeta didn’t get lost trying to find her way around Houston. I think the freeway system, here, was making her quite loopy! I was taken into what appeared to be a prep and recovery room, and traded in my clothes for a hospital gown, and hopped into bed. My sister took my clothes, and spent most of the afternoon loitering in the McDonalds down in the hospital basement.
My time was then spent getting prepped for the Vitrectomy (In case ya missed it, here is part 1) and entertaining the nurses with stories of my previous surgeries (ankle, and cataract), both of which were blogged in some form or another. They got a big laugh over how I had stuck a sign reading “drive carefully!” on my butt for the docs to see at my colonoscopy, and how I’d blogged the, um, fun of drinking NuLytely the day before, & more. The nurses were all very professional and did their jobs quite well. Though my request for the Houston Texan Cheerleaders to be on hand to give support was regretfully not something they could make happen (Why not, I don’t know. I mean it wasn’t as if I was asking for the gals in Dallas, after all, sheesh!)
When it was time for my operation someone “drove” me down several hallways to the operating room. I made sure to ask if she was licensed to drive, and was assured she thought she was, just hang on! I thought I was going to be knocked out for the duration, but after various things were either stuck in me, or on me, for various reasons, I was given something that made me numb, and woozy, but not completely unaware of the fun and games of which I was the main attraction.
It is downright weird to be not only aware that some device is holding your eye open, so some guy in a white gown, and surgical mask, can rummage around in your eye socket with various tools of his trade and, at the same time be aware that the people working on you are holding conversations that you can understand some of. While most of the talk was medical, I can’t swear that they might not have been discussing the weekend football games that the Cowboys and Texans were going to play on Sunday, too.
I fell briefly asleep near the end, awakening just in time to be told it was all over, and the operation was a success, then I was drove back to a recovery room for a while before being allowed to go home, with a patch over the eye, eye drop prescriptions, and other instructions, in hand, and orders to come back to the eye clinic for a follow-up, at 9am the next morning.
My sister Violeta (The one on the right) told me that our baby sister, Risana (the one in the cap, on the left), was flying down, arriving later in the evening, to drive Violeta home so she would not exhaust herself more than she already was. That meant that, the next morning, when they came to get me for the trip to the hospital, Vi would have a companion to get lost with driving around Houston on the way to my place.
The doctor, who did the operation, and follow-up, was of Lebanese descent, and a very friendly, professional, guy. He examined my eye, and explained that, while the surgery did all that it was supposed to, and my vision would return after weeks of eye drops, and proper care, there was one slight oddity that he hadn’t picked up in surgery or he would have fixed it then, and so we needed to do so during this visit. It seem there was a small, tear, is not exactly the right term, in a corner of the eye that, if not treated by laser, could cause a retinal tear, or dislocation at some point later on. This tear needed to be connected to blood vessels via laser so he had me lay down on a bed, and put drops in my eye to dilate it, and put more drops in my eye to dilate it, and well, let’s just say that, if an eye could talk mine would have been bellowing at the top of its lungs, “Enough, already! Geez, Louise, I ain’t dilating for nobody, no how! I am too exhausted, so get the hell out of my face with those lights, and gadgets, already!”
After having me sit at another laser, my head strapped in place, and more lights flashed in my eye, and some gadget pressed tight against the socket, the doc gave up until today, giving me instructions on which drops to not use for 2 days, and which drops to use more of, and we’d give it another go, sending me home with protective cover to tape over the eye when I slept.
We went to the hospital pharmacy to get the new drops, and after 2 hours came away with one, and directions to go to another clinic to get the other. I was tired, and shaky, having forgot to eat breakfast while waiting for my sisters to arrive that morning, so they dashed off to Burger King, and returned with 2 burgers, fries, 2 slices of apple pie, and a coke to wash it down with. The funny thing is that I started the day at 184 lbs., and woke up Sunday morning at 177 lbs.
On the way home from the 2nd clinic all 3 of us got lost together. Middle-aged sibling bonding at its most ridiculous! Once we got near home we stopped at a market because the girls insisted I spend $40 on food that could be cooked in simple meals by me, to add to the mac and veggies in my cupboard. Risana plans to email me simple recipes for a while, to build up a collection of easy recipes I can prepare in 10 minutes and cook on the stove, microwave, and rice cooker I own, once I can afford to spend a lot at the market again.
Once back home and everything put in the fridge, we said our good-byes, and the girls set off to return to the reasonably sane (in their view) commuter life of Southern California that they are familiar with.
This morning I returned to the clinic, and the doc declared that while my eye had decided to dilate a bit, but not enough to use the laser with me on the bed, so I was strapped into the devise with the chin rest, and head strap, a gadget shoved against my eye socket, lights in my eyes, and ordered not to move unless told to do so. Being tired and anxious made following those orders a bit hard at first, frustrating us both, and causing me to keep apologizing but, eventually something clicked, and I held still for the required 5 minutes as yellow, and green lights flickered in my eye, and the laser beeped and clicked joyfully away.
Finally, the doc declared his work finished, and everything was right in my eye at last. With the patch off my eye, the previous day, I immediately noticed I could see in a fuzzy sort of way, but much clearer than before the operation. I have 3 stiches in the eye, which are annoying, that will eventually dissolve.
My vision will clear after several weeks of treatment with 5 different types of drops. I can’t bend over, though I can look down, and I can bend at the knees to set down and pick up things, and I can’t do heavy lifting such as 10 lbs. or more, and can’t put pressure on the eye. I am able to read, and use the computer, but am also encouraged to get lots of sleep at night.
The eye is sore, and a little swollen, but not that painful. Nikita and Elvira, while helpful little nurses, wouldn't look at the camera when I tried to take pictures holding them with my eye patch still on.
(The sign in the photo reads: The Mad Macedonian was meant to be in Houston! It's a great fit! I am not a victim of my medical issues! I can manage them! Who I am is not my medical issues! I am the Mad Houstonian!)
When I got home from the surgery on Friday afternoon and checked my cell phone messages, I found I had one from the assistant manager of a nearby Petco. They wanted me to come in for an interview for the sales associate job I had applied for recently. I had to sit down after hearing that, as I have been
applying at all the Petco and Petsmart stores in the Houston area since I moved
here in Sept. I called back and spoke to the store manager. He wanted me to
come in Saturday, but I had to beg off, though I didn’t say why, and asked
instead if there was a day this week I could come in. My interview will be
I have not sat down for a job interview in 8 years, but I plan to make the case, as best I can, that I want the job and it's a great fit. I will try to make the case that I am not a victim of my medical issues but can manage the issues very well, and who I am is not my medical issues.
This afternoon, after leaving the clinic, I went to a nearby Jack in the Box for lunch. I had just sat down to eat at a table across from a Metro bus driver on his break, and we got to chatting when he noticed my food order, and my eye and, after he went to the john, before leaving to go back to work, he came back to my table, and asked me if I would mind if he could pray for me, as, being a Christian he had healing, helping, blessings to share, or something like that, I didn't quite catch that part because his request took me off guard....I looked up, smiled and said, sure, what the heck, I can used all the blessing and support I can get right about now...So he put his hand on my shoulder and asked God to bless "this very interesting man I just spent time talking with" with the healing of my eyes, bless me in my financial, and job search needs, and bless me as a creative writer. I gave the man, who said his name was Keith, a couple of my blog cards, and thanked him for his kindness, as I very much appreciated his gesture of support and encouragement.
And so, tomorrow, a new year begins. I do not know what my situation will be come February, but the rent will be paid for January, and my few other bills taken care of, I think, though I have to still put more money on my Transit Q-Card, soon, so as to get around town, and who know how many medical appointments I will have. I have phone calls to make, documents to turn in, and hopes for getting the cancer in my right eye taken care of one way or
I have hopes and plans for the creative side of my life to start the new year, as well. Where they will lead me I do not yet know, but I am thinking in new ways, trying to look at things differently than I have before and, God willing, 2013 will be a productive year, and a year of positive change and growth.